District Administration - March 2009 - (Page 48)
EssEntials on Education data and rEsEarch analysis ResearchCenter Coping with an Influx of ELL Students By Carla Thomas McClure SchoolS and diStrictS that serve a large number of English language learners (Ells) have found it helpful to develop a comprehensive program that addresses the specific needs of the population they serve. But what about districts that experience a sudden influx of Ell students? in these places, no Ell program may be in place, and existing staff may not be trained or experienced in teaching students whose first language is not English. Adapting Practices for ELLs Generally, instructional practices that are effective for students in general are also good for English language learners. all students can benefit from clear explanations supported by visual aids, for example, and from direct instruction supplemented by opportunities for practice. however, teachers will need to differentiate instruction for Ell students to accommodate various levels of language development (Genesee, lindholm-leary, Saunders, & christian, 2006). English language learners can become good at recognizing or decoding words within a couple of years, but this does not guarantee that they will become fluent readers. Ell students can pick up conversational English rather quickly, but proficiency in academic English takes at least four to seven years. academic English includes words like whereas and identify as well as content-area vocabulary; the words field and root take on new meanings in math class, for example. The good news? English and non-English speakers benefit from increased opportunities to learn academic English. The challenge? Many teachers, especially those who teach middle and high school, will need professional guidance in how to deliver such opportunities (august & Shanahan, 2006). Research-Based Frameworks teachers need to use a comprehensive framework for delivering academic instruction. districts should establish frameworks and instructional guidelines based on the size and characteristics of their Ell populations (torgesen et al., 2007). For example, districts serving a large population of Spanish speakers may be able to include some instruction in Spanish for those students. Several studies have shown that first-language instruction can yield long-term benefits. two frameworks that have some empirical support are the Sheltered instructional observation Protocol (SioP) and the Five Standards for Effective Pedagogy. The SioP model aims to improve Ells’ subject matter comprehension by adapting speech to their language proficiency levels using a variety of instructional techniques so that students have adequate support as they work on complex tasks. The Five Standards direct teachers to work together with students, develop language and literacy skills across the curriculum, and involve students in instructional conversations—academic, goal-directed, small group discussions (Genesee et al., 2006). DA Carla Thomas McClure is a staff writer at Edvantia (www.edvantia.org), a nonprofit education research and development organization. Anita Deck (antia.deck@ edvantia.org) directs West Virginia Parent Connections at Edvantia. To see citations of the article’s references, go to www.DistrictAdministration.com. District Administration District implementation communicating with families can help all children, including those whose first language is not english. Imagine living in a foreign country. Your school-age children bring home report cards and newsletters, but they are not in your native language, so you can’t read them. Your eight-year-old tells you about a parent-teacher conference, but you feel intimidated and lack confidence in your language skills, so you stay home. For families of many English language learners, this is what it’s like. But with effort, schools can change this dynamic by finding local volunteers to translate school-tohome communications or to serve as translators during parent-teacher conferences. You can also let parents know what they can do at home to help their children learn. For example, research shows that reading to ELL children in their first language can help them become better readers of English. Here are some parent involvement resources you can put to use right away: parental information and resource centers Find helpful resources and contact the center that serves your area: www.nationalpirc.org california pirc Get tip sheets for parents and other downloads in several languages: www.calpirc.org/downloads/index.php parent involvement: Keys to success Use this podcast series and listener’s guides at in-service meetings: www.arcc.edvantia.org/page /parentinvolvementpodcasts colorin colorado Get bilingual information (Spanish), activities, and advice: www.colorincolorado.org —Anita Deck 48 March 2009
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - March 2009
District Administration - March 2009
Health & Fitness
The College Promise
Do Economic Rewards Work?
The SIFication of America
Disciplining Students with Disabilities
How Well Does This Web Site Work?
District Administration - March 2009